The report describes a social media post, reported by a member of the service, which claims to “see a lot of our kind” in combat arms. The post recommended ways to identify other members of the group, saying “just wear a shirt with an obscure fascist logo”.
The military has long been aware of the presence of a small number of white supremacists and other extremists in its ranks, but the issue erupted in public consciousness after the Jan. 6 uprising on Capitol Hill, where a disproportionate numbers of veterans and some current military were giveaways. It soon fell to a new Pentagon chief, Lloyd Austin, to determine the extent of the problem and try to resolve it.
On February 5, Austin ordered all commanders and supervisors at all levels of the military to take a one-day “break” – a break from normal business – in early April to discuss extremism in the ranks.
During its first Pentagon news conference two weeks later, Austin said extremism is a threat to the bonds of trust between the military, which rely on cohesion to make them effective on the battlefield.
“I truly and sincerely believe that 99.9% of our military believe the” oath they take when entering the military, Austin said, adding that the actual number of extremists in the military was unknown.
“I expect the numbers to be small, but frankly they’ll probably be a little bigger than most of us think,” he said. “But I would just say that, you know, small numbers …
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